The Chaos & Carnage Tour kicked off last week featuring some of extreme metal's most legendary and influential bands. The first year of what will hopefully be an annual tour is a brief but goddamn powerful three week run across the US headlined by the almighty Carnifex! To kick off the show, the band have brought out some extremely talented bands to really set the energy in the place off, including Shadow of Intent, Buried Above Ground, Spite and Archspire. The dudes in Widowmaker join the tour on 4/25 as Shadow of Intent drops off, but Soulless Cult was lucky enough to catch Shadow of Intent play the NYC date at the Gramercy Theatre on April 18th! We were also super fortunate enough to be the first date of the tour that Winds of fuckin' Plague jump on, and their set was one of the absolute strongest of the night. And finally, to hype the crowd one final time before Carnifex takes the stage, the dudes in Oceano come bringing the beef with their mental display of absolutely insane deathcore. The tour was a night to remember for the rest of our lives, and was easily one of the best shows I've been to in fifteen years of going to them.
Shadow of Intent kicked it off bringing their incredible take on technical death metal to the show, and it was such an honor to finally be able to see these guys play their stuff live. I've been jamming this band since Primordial came out, but as you may be aware, SoI didn't start playing shows until just a few months ago, and I wasn't lucky enough to be able to make it to one of the very first ones at the same venue from this tour, but it was totally sick to finally see them play some of their best tracks live. If you ever thought for even a split second that these guys can't play (or scream) their songs, please let me assure you... they tore it the fuck up. What you hear on the records is what you hear live, and it was so sick. Buried Above Ground picked up where Shadow of Intent left off, and although I'm not too familiar with their music, they totally delivered on the heavy front and their set made for some crazy action in the pit. Their dark imagery played well with their sound, and their overall stage presence was pretty awesome and super enjoyable. I'll no doubt be putting more time into their new EP, "The Crown." And of coarse, after Buried Above Ground came one of the heaviest, angriest, and filthiest sets of the night: Spite. I've been fortunate enough to see Spite twice before tonight, and third times a charm with these dudes; Spite is one band that continue to deliver absolute devastation, song after song; they manage to invoke pure anger and intensity with every note, and their jams are almost therapeutically violent. These guys just get better and better every time I see them, and the crowd beat the living piss out of each other during their set; NYC definitely loves them some Spite! Archspire - the brutal technical death metal band from Canada - were up next and I was seriously blown away by just how heavy they were. While I'm admittedly not the biggest tech-death fan, Archspire destroyed their set with their incredible blend of melodic guitar solos, brutally raw and unique vocals, and sheer chaos metal. While they may not be a band I listen to while just hanging out, I'd be more than happy to pay to see them live again because that was a goddamn show! So good.
The final three bands for the night - however - filled the room with the most support, the most action, the most violence. Winds of Plague, coming fresh off their new release "Blood Of My Enemy," played one of the best setlists a WOP fan could ask for: plenty of the good ol' songs we've been playing for ten years, plus a few from the new album. Winds definitely know their fanbase and what they want to hear, and they did more than deliver a chaotic set of some of the best songs in their history like "Refined In The Fire," "Decimate the Weak," "The Impaler" and of coarse "Reloaded." The new songs, though, definitely translated really well live and the crowd couldn't get enough of it. The band was all smiles watching as NY metalheads banged their heads and pushed their friends around to their iconic and legendary songs. Bringing Winds on this tour was one of the best decisions ever - props to whoever made that call. Oceano followed up, and if you've been following Soulless for a minute now, you'd know that I don't hide how much of an Oceano fan I am; I knew I'd love this band forever since the first time I spun Depths in my car stereo. It was heavy music unlike anything I'd heard at the time, and to this day, Oceano still deliver; record after record. This was one of the band's sickest performances that I've seen over the past almost ten years. They take heavy to a whole new level live: it's a non-stop, in your face beatdown that nobody could get enough of. Vocalist Adam Warren may be the only original member left from the og Oceano, but he's done a killer job filling the vacancies with some totally talented guys who absolutely shred pure insanity. It broke my heart when their set was up, after playing some of the best Oceano tracks like "Nephilim," "The Taken," "A Mandatory Sacrifice," and of coarse "District of Misery." They even pulled out "Weaponized" from "Contagion" - totally sick.
And of coarse, the reason this tour existed in the first place; the final chapter in the Chaos & Carnage Tour 2018: Carnifex. I've NEVER seen a band of their size put so much effort, money, and time into creating a tour so monstrous, so fucking epic in all my years. As soon as the band walks out and their stage production is revealed to the crowd, you know you're in for the time of your life. Carnifex always manage to outdo themselves in terms of production quality, but this is going to be nearly impossible for any other band to top. The two, massive snake scrims are the most epic shit I've ever seen at a show. If you're not heading to one of these tour dates, do yourself a favor and find some footage of Carnifex's performance on social media, it will blow you away. As their stage presence sets the tone for the show, the band pulled out the best of the best from their massive catalog to play for the fans, including "Slow Death," "Dark Days," "Hell Chose Me," "Pale Ghost" and of coarse "Lie To My Face." Their setlist for this tour is back-to-back heavy; if there's one thing you should know about Carnifex, it's that they always know what the fans want, and they always deliver. If you caught Carnifex on their headliner in 2017 or at Warped Tour last summer, you were treated to a devastating cover of "The Heretic Anthem" by Slipknot. Carnifex DESTROYS a new cover for this tour, but I don't want to be the one to spoil it... trust me, this is one you're going to want to see and hear for yourself.
Overall, Chaos & Carnage 2018 turned out to be the most fun I've had at a show in a long ass time; this lineup was one of the most well thought out lineups, and the crew put together one fucking hell of a show. No band is working this hard to deliver this kind of experience to you, and it definitely shows. Carnifex announced that this would be their only tour for this year, since after this they will be focusing on writing and recording their follow-up record to Slow Death. And they outdid themselves yet again. I cannot even begin to explain just how good of an experience this tour was for me, and I truly hope anyone who has went or will be attending has even 5% of the good time that I had, because this was one hell of a night to remember. If you went or are going, be sure to share your photos with us on social media - I'd love to see what a good time everyone has had!
Tickets to Chaos & Carnage are still available for upcoming shows! Check out ChaosAndCarnage.com or the tours Facebook page for more info!